Update: Trek earns $31M on first day; headed into orbit

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

J.J. Abrams' Star Trek blasted off beyond its core audience of Trekkies on Friday, raking in an estimated $31 million to give the studio its second-highest opening day ever at the box office for a live-action film, Variety reported.

Playing at 3,849 theaters, Star Trek ranked behind the first-day gross of Paramount's Iron Man, which made $38.7 million in its first day last May.

Thursday night preview screenings of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek grossed between $7 million and $8 million, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing an anonymous "knowledgeable industry source."

That's a better pace than the studio's Iron Man, which sold about $5 million in tickets on a comparable Thursday opening and went on to make $102.1 million by Sunday.

The newspaper points out that, given the franchise's devoted base of hard-core fans, sales for the earliest shows don't necessarily mean the movie will go on to be as big as Iron Man. But it's now looking very likely it will defy tracking data that suggested it would make between $65 million and $75 million.